Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told U.S. President Barack Obama that he intends to resign his post, Israeli Channel 10 television reported on Monday. According to the report, the Palestinian leader told Obama during a telephone conversation last week that he sees no chance of advancing the so-called peace process with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power.
Channel 10 also reported that Abbas communicated to the White House his disappointment in the administration's "capitulation" to Tel Aviv on the issue of occupied West Bank settlement construction. The Palestinians are demanding a cessation of Israeli settlement activity as a precondition to the resumption of “peace negotiations”.
According to Channel 10, Abbas told the White House that the Palestinian Authority's initial decision to defer a vote on the Goldstone Report at the United Nations Human Rights Council was politically damaging. The Palestinian Authority agreed to delay debating the report that was condemning the Zionist entity for its aggression in Gaza last winter. The decision led to street protests by Palestinians and condemnation around the Arab world.
In recent days, Abbas has sent a number of blunt, unequivocal messages to the White House, Channel 10 reported. According to information which reached Israeli officials, Abbas told the U.S. president that he will not stand for re-election as Palestinian Authority president given the diplomatic stalemate with Israel.
Abbas called on Friday for presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan. 24, in a bid to regain dominance of the badly divided Palestinian movement and sideline his political rivals, Hamas.
According to Channel 10, Abbas also told the Americans that he sees no possibility that his Fatah faction can reach a reconciliation agreement with Hamas. Hamas and Fatah are currently in the midst of Egyptian-mediated reconciliation talks.
In response to the report, a senior Netanyahu aide told Channel 10: "Netanyahu carried out a number of steps in order to renew the peace process, as the American administration is fully aware. The prime minister called on the Palestinians to renew negotiations immediately and without preconditions."
"In contrast to the prime minister, the Palestinians are assuming a tougher stance and are placing preconditions before negotiations that they did not demand of previous [Israeli] governments," the source told Channel 10. "It is a shame that their transparent political maneuvers are casting a pall over the peace process."
Earlier Monday, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat blamed Israel for the impasse. Erekat urged Washington to also find fault with Israel.
"The gap is still wide and Israel does not give a single sign of meeting its obligations under the road map, halting settlement activities and resuming negotiations where they left off," he told Voice of Palestine radio. "I do not see any possibility for restarting peace talks in the near future," Erekat said.
Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Abbas, on Monday night denied the Channel 10 report.